Our alliance of ecumenical grassroots groups, organizations and networks from all over Germany, formed in November 2019 on the initiative of representatives of Kairos Europa, Pax Christi and Pro Ökumene, regards the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe 2022 as an excellent opportunity to bring the priorities of the “JPIC process”, which was launched by the WCC in 1983, back into the focus of the public in general and of churches and social movements in particular.
We share the conviction that the commitment of our ecumenical “Casa Común 2022” initiative should be directed, both in the run-up to the Assembly and at the Assembly itself, first and foremost towards ensuring that the churches – in Germany as well as worldwide – grapple (once again) much more intensively and, above all, more decisively with the survival issues of humanity and creation – for theological, ecclesiological and political reasons. And in view of the numerous global trouble spots that are dramatically worsening, they must by no means limit themselves in this debate to demands for mere cosmetic reforms of the structurally destructive global economic system. Rather, it is a matter of entering into serious dialogue with younger generations and of forming alliances and taking joint action from a perspective that radically contests the socio-economic and societal power structures. As parts of the climate movement say: “system change, not climate change!” Economic and climate justice for all people will, as things stand, only be achieved through a fundamental socio-ecological transformation. And this ultimately requires turning away from the capitalist drivers of profit and growth that have dominated our economy so far, and turning towards an economy that focuses on the common good and the protection of the natural basis of life.
In this spirit – and encouraged by the positive response of the WCC´s executive general secretary Prof. Dr. Ioan Sauca, who welcomed our first public statement (Open Letter to the Global Ecumenical Movement, April 2020) as a “constructive critique” and an “important and valuable contribution to the ecumenical movement” that “will hopefully lead to deeper discussions and more accurate analyses” – we invite the ecumenical movement, especially our sisters and brothers in the Global South, to join us in action in the run-up to and at the WCC assembly.
We would like to implement, in close cooperation with partners from churches and ecumenical organizations from all over the world, a concept entitled “Casa Común 2022” which for the period of the assembly in Karlsruhe seeks:
• to be a place of encounter (coffee house character) – for and between the following target groups:
◦ ecumenical grassroots groups as well as social movements from the global South and North;
◦ assembly delegates and other Assembly participants and observers;
◦ assembly visitors, local and regional congregations, interested members of the public;
◦ journalists from Christian and the general media.
• to be a place of – deepening – exchange (teaching house character) – for and between the above-mentioned target groups, on priority topics of the conciliar process which have yet to be identified, for example in the form of:
◦ events on postcolonial, feminist, ecologically sensitive or critical race theories and theologies;
◦ events (seminars, workshops, discussion panels, etc.) on priority topics of the Casa Común – possibly with a daily thematic focus;
◦ events explicitly related to the assembly and involving WCC delegates (continuation and deepening of thematic plenaries, ecumenical conversations, etc. – possibly also with a daily thematic focus);
◦ informal meetings and conversations of groups who want to write texts and/or prepare actions with reference to assembly events.
• to be a place of spirituality of resistance (devotional and prayer house character) – for example in the form of:
◦ political morning, day and night prayers;
◦ bible studies, devotions and meditations;
◦ AGAPE services.
• to be a place of cultures of the world (art and festival house character) – for example in the form of:
◦ thematic exhibitions;
We want to develop all this together in the run-up to the assembly. Using virtual conferences and strategy workshops (internationally as well as along language groups), we want to work on questions like: What should be the priority issues for a prophetic ecumenical movement that adequately addresses the signs of the times? How can we make our voice heard at the WCC assembly?
Our choice of topics, which partly consciously takes up the official assembly agenda, but partly consciously goes beyond it, is intended to underline that we expressly understand our Casa Común concept as an offer to churches in Germany and worldwide which complements the WCC assembly in a critical-constructive sense, but at the same time we want to accentuate it as a recognizable alternative, which will hopefully be able to enliven the WCC assembly in a positive sense.
For this, we hope for your participation and creativity to fill the spirit of ecumenism with new life together with us – for a life in fullness for all!